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Old 12-23-2010, 03:15 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,648 posts, read 37,859,737 times
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How do these do on snow and ice? As I understand it the Smart cars have the engine in the rear and they are rear wheel drive, much like the old VW bugs. My buddies and I used to race those around sort of playing tag with each other in fairly deep snow often times in Wyoming and they handled much better then most vehicles which had engines in the front and rear wheel drive. The VW's were small enough that if one did get stuck in the snow, two guys could grab the rear bumper and kinda bounce the rear end around a bit and get it unstuck. I don't think they had winter tires on them.

I drove one through 12" deep snow for 5 miles on a dirt road once and never got stuck even though the undercarriage was bottoming out on the snow most of the way. I could not see in the SMARTcar spec's what kind of ground clearance they have, but visually it looks pretty good and they do have 15" wheels, where the VW Bug only had 13" as I recall.

I'd like to hear from anyone who has driven a SMARTcar on snow and ice.

Last edited by CptnRn; 12-23-2010 at 03:29 PM..
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Old 12-23-2010, 03:21 PM
 
10,139 posts, read 21,660,055 times
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The best 2WD configuration for snow is rear engine rear wheel drive. But once you get more than 55- 60% of the weight of a vehicle in the rear they get a little squirrely steering. I had a Karman Ghia that we put four studded snow tires on and it was unstoppable except in deep snow.

I'd bet a Smart car does pretty well but I've never driven one snow or dry.
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Old 12-23-2010, 03:51 PM
 
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I also don't have any knowledge about the Smart Car in the snow and I agree with everything said above. One other drawback might also be however the super-short wheelbase. I know my old Jeep CJ5 and CJ7s would go anywhere. But if you did begin to swing the rear end, the normal steering into the slide didn't work. They wanted to switch ends so quickly it was faster than you could react. And if it did correct the slide, it would snap back so violently that you ended up sliding in the other direction.
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Old 12-23-2010, 05:07 PM
 
9,872 posts, read 18,990,797 times
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I had always heard FWD was better in snow. My FWD car wouldn't make it up a hill, flipped it around and drove it backwards. Made it up and even accelerated...couldn't believe it if I didn't do it myself.
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Old 12-23-2010, 05:47 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
10,715 posts, read 21,657,404 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheelsup View Post
I had always heard FWD was better in snow. My FWD car wouldn't make it up a hill, flipped it around and drove it backwards. Made it up and even accelerated...couldn't believe it if I didn't do it myself.
the best is AWD or a 4x4 for accelerating in snow stopping is still about the same no matter what you drive
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Old 12-23-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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a friend in quebec puts snows on his Smart and he swears its as good as his sister's forester
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Old 12-23-2010, 07:32 PM
 
9,872 posts, read 18,990,797 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTOlover View Post
the best is AWD or a 4x4 for accelerating in snow stopping is still about the same no matter what you drive
Yep obviously but after that is what I was referring to.
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Old 12-23-2010, 09:48 PM
 
Location: Vermont / NEK
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The classic Beetles had 15" wheels.
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Old 12-24-2010, 06:37 AM
 
10,678 posts, read 16,419,571 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheelsup View Post
I had always heard FWD was better in snow.
A common myth. They are better for people that have no clue how to drive in the snow, not to help them keep moving, but to help them keep from losing control and spinning out.
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Old 12-24-2010, 07:40 AM
PDD
 
Location: The Sand Hills of NC
8,776 posts, read 13,522,098 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHDave View Post
A common myth. They are better for people that have no clue how to drive in the snow, not to help them keep moving, but to help them keep from losing control and spinning out.
There is a big difference between myth and opinion.

Yours is just an opinion.


Since the majority only occasionally drive in the snow FWD makes more sense. Engine weight over the drive wheels.

Front engine rear drive is the worst set up for snow.

Since everybody agrees the 4 wheel drive is the best in the snow is it not because front wheel drive has been added?

I know my 4x4 sucks in the snow when only the rear wheels are driving but when I engage the front wheels then it is a whole different truck.

While you are certainly entitled to your opinion, in this case your opinion does not make sense. And if it does not make sense then it is not true.
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